Art & Antiques Notes

Julie Carlson Wildfeuer


The author of numerous art books and museum exhibition catalogs, ARTFIXdaily publisher Julie Carlson Wildfeuer has also written for regional magazines, Forbes.com, and Antiques & Fine Art magazine, where she served as VP and founding managing editor.

Art world news, exhibition reviews, and notes on collecting.

Shock 'n' Awe: Chris Jordan's Green Theme Mega-Art

  • Chris Jordan, Cans Seurat

    Chris Jordan, Cans Seurat

    Chris Jordan Photography

  • Chris Jordan, partial zoom of "Cans, Seurat"

    Chris Jordan, partial zoom of "Cans, Seurat"

    Chris Jordan

  • Chris Jordan, Detail of "Cans Seurat"

    Chris Jordan, Detail of "Cans Seurat"

    Chris Jordan

Chris Jordan was a lawyer, but don't hold that against him. He reinvented himself as an artist with a social conscious. Seattle-based Jordan creates large-scale photographic works that jolt viewers into thinking about burning issues such as global consumerism and excess.

On view at Santa Barbara's Museum of Natural History (through Sept. 11, 2009) is the travelling exhibition "Running the Numbers," his powerful series of work that Jordan describes on his website as a look at "contemporary American culture through the austere lens of statistics."

Statistics can be dry, but within a visual context numbers take on much more resonance. Jordan creates impactful tableaux for some eye-popping figures, such as: "2.3 million folded prison uniforms, equal to the number of Americans incarcerated in 2005."

At first glance, the massively-scaled digital photographs (most are at least 60" by 80") might appear to be either rather pleasing pictures (ie., a tribute to Seurat) or didatic, message-laden images (ie., a skull smoking). But upon closer inspection, the viewer sees that each work is comprised of seemingly countless miniscule images that evoke the larger image or pattern. On top of that, there is a message to ponder, taking the form of a brief museum label. Here is where the statistics come into play.

"Cans Seurat, 2007," 60 by 92 inches, bears the label: "Depicts 106,000 aluminum cans, the number used in the US every thirty seconds." The large-scale view is a soft pointillist-like rendition of Georges Seurat's (French, 1859-1891) masterpiece "Sunday on La Grande Jatte." The 106,000 cans are so tiny that the viewer is forced to move inches away from the picture to inspect.

Of course, garbage figures largely in Jordan's overall green theme. American waste to ponder: "Plastic Bottles, 2007," "depicts two million plastic beverage bottles, the number used in the US every five minutes."

Curated by Chris Bruce at Washington State University Art Gallery.

Washington State University Museum of Art: Jan 14 - Apr 4, 2009:
Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History: May 15 - Sep 11, 2009
Pacific Science Center, Seattle: Sep, 2009 - Jan, 2010
Haverford College Art Gallery, Haverford, PA: Jan - Mar, 2010
Austin Museum of Art, Austin TX: May 22 - Aug 15, 2010
College of Charleston, SC: Fall 2010
Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, University of Oregon: Jan - Mar, 2011
Whatcom Museum of History and Art, Bellingham, WA: Apr- July 2011


More posts from Art & Antiques Notes

After the Jesusita Fire in Santa Barbara, May 8
  • May 10, 2009

The Chubb Insurance Group, a leading insurer of homeowners and personal art collections worldwide, announced in a press release on May 8 that the company has sent a new kind of aid to its ...

Read More

 Smoke Decorated Box With Fitted Interior American, Ca.  Early 19th Century Pine with dovetailed construction and original smoke decoration.  Decorated interior fitted with a case of 5 drawers.  Ex.  Margaret Canavan.
  • May 12, 2009

After a foggy morning dawned on Mother's Day, Santa Barbara's Jesusita fire is now 70 percent contained. From May 5 to 9, the fire burned a total of 8,733 acres including 77 homes. About ...

Read More

Pair of South Jersey pitchers and witch balls, ca.  1850, sold for $28,080.
  • June 23, 2009

The Father's Day weekend auction at Downington, Pennsylvania-based Pook & Pook Inc. gave the Americana market a needed shot in the arm. Several contested lots surpassed their modest ...

Read More

Childe Hassam, Up the Avenue from Thirty-fourth Street
  • July 5, 2009

UPDATE (Oct. 8, 2009) - Jurors convicted Anthony Marshall, Brooke Astor's son, of 14 criminal counts, including fraud and grand larceny. He was found not guilty on charges of larceny, ...

Read More


ArtfixDaily Artwire